Moving to Florida was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love the climate, I love the people and I love my new home. One of the things that I have found a little tricky, and even sometimes a little disgusting, have been the bugs.
Who knew the warm weather brought so many interesting little critters, not me! But I have spent a fair amount of time learning how to live bug and pest free in Florida and I can help you to do the same.
Of course, we want to do it in such a way that we don’t destroy the environment. I have tried really hard, not always easy, to stay away from toxic sprays. So while it is easy to buy a tin of insect repellant and just spray like crazy, here are a whole lot of more natural ways. And they work! Here are my 7 ways to protect you, your family and your home from bugs.
1. Keep a clean house at all times.
I know this sounds pretty simple but you know, it’s true. Wipe the surfaces as you finish making your snacks, keep the garbage wrapped up tight and keep all food in the fridge or in containers that are well sealed. Have a no crumb rule and make sure you teach your kids that too!
The same goes for the outside too. If you leave your peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the patio table, even if it is outside, know that you are not going to be eating alone for long!
2. Check your water supply because bugs like water.
Insects like water too. The fresher the better. If you have a dripping tap, you’re going to find bugs. And if you have any leaks, you’re going to find more than bugs, you’re going to find cockroaches.
I learned that my pipes from the faucets were leaking into my kitchen cupboards. It was just a little drip but – drip drip drip – cockroaches gathered in full force. Seal all leaks. And keep your bathroom, shower and toilet area dry. After a bath or shower, you should always get rid of any excess water. And never keep anything wet or damp in a cupboard, or you will never be bug and pest free in Florida.
3. Keep your pet food out of reach for everyone except your pets.
Dogs love it, cats love it, even all the birds and bees love it. But – feed your animals outside. Feed them in the same place daily and once they’re done, you must pick up their bowls. If you want to be bug and pest free in Florida you need to work at it. Plus, you don’t have the opportunity to get lazy. Feed Buster, rinse his bowl and put it away! Each and every time.
4. Install screens on every single door and window.
These will protect you from mosquitos and flies and all those things seem to never go away, even though they’re meant to be seasonal. Whoever told me they were seasonal was wrong. But a simple screen on your doors and windows work magic. It means you can keep the windows open and still feel the gorgeous summer breeze but no unwanted guests can come through.
Get a professional to do it if home maintenance is not your thing. It’s a little costly although I am so glad I did it. No more mosquito bites for me! And by the way, vents should be covered with screening too.
5. Seal your foundation and your exterior walls.
This sounds like a lot of work but you won’t be sorry. When I bought my house it wasn’t brand new. It’s charming but a little old!
I found that the gaps in the foundation wall and the exterior walls were a perfect entry point for bugs. And I did not want bugs. I sealed the foundation walls with liquid cement and I used a caulking gun for the cracks around my windows and doors. I didn’t go as far as to get an exterior wall treatment, and I didn’t use any sprays because of the environment, but some people do.
And I must say, if my sealing isn’t enough, I would spray too. Fingers crossed but if you do this, you could be bug and pest free in Florida.
6. Keep a good distance between outdoor plants and your windows.
I have loved gardening in my new home. With foliage, come pests. I don’t mind them outside, as long as they’re not destroying my garden, but I do not like them inside (you have gathered this already!) Keep an eye on your outside vegetation and if anything is creeping too close to doors and windows, cut it back.
Get the garden scissors right now. If an insect is hanging out a leaf near your kitchen window, soon it’s going to be hanging out in your kitchen. This is not good!
7. Vacuum on a regular basis.
This kind of makes sense anyway, doesn’t it. There are always little crumbs and things that escape your eye. Vacuum. You don’t want to overdo it because of electricity costs so sweep first and then vacuum. But – well, as the saying goes – keep clean! Vacuum your furniture too especially the cracks where bugs and pests love to meet up. Get rid of them, now, so you too can be bug and pest free in Florida.
There are a few things I didn’t tell you about cockroaches because they kind of freaked me out, but – cockroaches are even harder than you could possibly imagine. You think you’ve got rid of them and hey presto, they’re back with their extended family. Roaches love the top of the fridge and under the fridge. They also quite like the warming drawer in an oven. I’d forgotten to clean these areas and a whole family moved in. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN.
Don’t get obsessed, it’s easy, but clean every day. I am now living pretty much bug and pest free in Florida, and I’m loving it. Plus, the cleaning can be part of your fitness routine. I swear I’m in good shape because of it!